The importance of traditional stone fruit varieties has slid in California over the past 20 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Census of Agriculture provides a great point of comparison on the acreage of major produce crops compared with 2012, 2007 and 2002.

The census provides an interactive tool that allows for quick comparisons.  For example, this page shows how fruit crop acreage has changed in California.

Let’s take a look at some of the big fruit crop acreage changes since the last census. 

  • Apples: 2017 acres were 13,637 acres, down from 18,205 acres in 2012, 22,184 acres in 2007 and 38,268 acres in 2002;
  • Avocados: 2017 acres were 57,192 acres, down from 59,814 acres in 2012, 74,767 in 2007 and 67,553 in 2002;
  • Sweet cherries: 2017 acres were 36,853 acres, down from 37,944 acres in 2012 but up from 30,433 acres in 2007 and 26,440 acres in 2002;
  • Dates: 2017 acres were 11,423 acres, up from 7,257 acres in 2012 and 6,315 acres in 2007 and 6,187 acres in 2002;
  • Grapes: 2017 acres were 935,272 acres, down from 940,178 acres in 2012 and 868,330 acres in 2007 and 890,896 aces in 2002;
  • Nectarines: 2017 acres were 17,618 acres, down from 19,555 acres from 2012 and 28,431 in 2007 and 42,532 acres in 2002;
  • Peaches: 2017 acres were 24,004 acres, down from 26,082 acres in 2012, 35,499 acres in 2007 and 42,302 acres in 2002; and 
  • Plums and prunes: 2017 acres 64,702 acres, down from 82,910 acres in 2012 and 102,860 acres in 2007, and 141,494 acres in 2002.

That is only a few selections from the database, but obviously it is easy to see the long-term decline in stone fruit acreage over the past 15 years.

On the bright side, the census reports California plum apricot hybrid acreage has grown from 3,240 in 2012 to 4,583 acres in 2017.

 
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